For years, news directors across the country have told reporters and anchors “You need to blog for our website.”
And that’s it. Many times, there is little or no direction offering suggestions on what to blog and why it’s important
Remember: reporters always want to know the why.
The need to blog and create engaging content for digital properties is more essential than ever as viewers search for information. Our research supports this. Not only is Facebook the leading breaking news source, it also connects, informs and entertains us. 44% of viewers have used social media to get more information about a story they first saw on TV52% have followed a link to a local news website from Facebook34% agree that seeing local news on Facebook makes them more likely to tune in to local news on TV
Viewers want digital content. We know they’re checking their mobile devices, with 43% of viewers checking their smartphones multiple times in the morning alone. Use this to your advantage to drive traffic to your social media accounts and websites.
Why is that smart? Well-branded station blogs can create inventory for your digital sales team. It can enhance the credibility of your reporters, producers, anchors and photographers. It also humanizes them while strengthening your brand as the multi-platform news leader in your market.
That’s a win on all fronts.
On to the fun stuff. Let’s focus on what to blog. Here are three types of blog posts your team can produce for your digital properties.
Content Boosters For Stories
Content boosters for stories is one of the most practical things to do when reporters are slamming to produce a vo/sot for 5 while a fronting a package for the 6.
Too often reporters simply copy and past their package script, tweak it just a bit and use that for their web copy. That’s the easy route but it’s redundant. Instead, embed your video onto the webpage and provide additional information in the form of a soundbite or piece of information you weren’t able to get into the package.
Can’t make that work? Share your perspective or personal insight. This is the route I took with my story on the football exhibit at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum for KCBS/KCAL in Los Angeles. I added some context to the story and produced a photo gallery of pictures that I took at the museum. While is provides additional information, this keeps viewers on your website and generates multiple page views.
This approach can also help drive organic traffic to your website if viewers are searching for information on something. Remember, Google loves multimedia content.
Newsroom Staff Personal Passions
This is something every reporter, anchor, photographer can create: a blog post detailing his or her personal passions. Do you have an anchor who loves historic architecture? Have him produce a monthly blog post sharing some of his favorite styles. Is there a reporter who is fitness enthusiast? Have her curate links to wellness news to share with viewers. Does a newsroom photog also happen to love drones? Get him blogging about drone technology. The list absolutely endless.
Getting your newsroom staff to blog about a particular niche, again, humanizes your team. It allows them to connect with viewers on a level that goes beyond a transactional relationship. It gives them a peek into your off-the-air lives, something viewers love.
Manage this intelligently by asking your team to produce one blog post a month. There is no reason to overwhelm them with a robust editorial calendar. Chances are, blogging about their passions might ignite their passion for creating additional blog posts
Reporter/Anchor Beat Blogs
These are a no-brainer. Have your reporters or anchor blog about their beats. For example, your consumer reporters can offer a weekly steals and deals blog post (these are easier to produce than you might think). Your city council reporter can curate news content relevant to her particular city. Your weather department has a wealth of content to share: weather terms defined, this week in weather history, additional insight from a severe weather event, etc.
Set some parameters but give your team ownership of their blogs and the freedom to discuss topics that are meaningful.
WVUE’s Sean Fazende does a good job of this with his After Further Review blog. The New Orleans sports anchor simply produces concise yet informative blog posts, focused primarily on the Saints, that illustrate his expertise while also serving a passionate fan base.
Promoting Your Blog Posts
Share all of these stories on your station’s social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter, even Instagram or Pinterest, if appropriate. Get the reporter and anchor to share these stories on their accounts, as well.
If it’s an evergreen story, schedule your social media promotional posts multiple times over a few weeks at different time periods. Remember, viewers aren’t reading every post you produce. You need to create multiple posts to connect and engage with them.
We are just scratching the surface when it comes to content your team can produce for your station’s digital properties. Want to dive deeper? Contact your SmithGeiger consultant for a digital content strategy session.
Images via: Damian Zaleski, CBSLA.com, WVUE.com
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